Villanova head coach Jay Wright talks to his players during a timeout in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Seton Hall, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
- The St. John’s Red Storm (11-7, 5-6 Big East) host the Villanova Wildcats (11-1, 6-0 Big East) Wednesday, Feb. 3
- Both teams are riding win streaks, with the Red Storm winners of four in a row and ‘Nova on a nine-game run
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The St. John’s Red Storm (11-7, 5-6 Big East) will try to extend their current winning streak to five when they host the Villanova Wildcats (11-1, 6-0 Big East) Wednesday, Feb. 3 in New York. Tip is set for 9pm ET inside Carnesecca Arena.
Both teams are hot. The Red Storm have won four straight — including a dramatic victory over Marquette Sunday — while the Wildcats have won nine in a row and are undefeated in Big East play. ‘Nova’s 80-72 win over Seton Hall Saturday was only its third game in the new year.
Villanova vs St. John’s Odds
|Villanova||-9 (-110)||N/A||Ov 151.5 (-110)|
|St. John’s||+9 (-110)||N/A||Un 151.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 2 at FanDuel
Jay Wright’s team had little trouble with their usually formidable conference foe over the weekend. The Wildcats were all over the Pirates early, leading by as many as 16 points in the first half. The final outcome was only an eight-point margin (not far off the two-point, narrow victory for ‘Nova over Seton Hall Jan. 19), but the ‘Cats were in control throughout.
Meanwhile, a pair of freshman were huge factors in extending the program’s first three-game road league winning streak in eight years against Marquette. Posh Alexander and Dylan Addae-Wusu were high school teammates in the Bronx last year, but helped the Johnnies hang in Milwaukee with clutch buckets down the stretch.
Now, the home team — that was near the Big East basement a few weeks ago — is a slight underdog to the class of the conference.
The Wildcats’ only loss this season was an 81-73 neutral-site affair to Virginia Tech in overtime at the Mohegan Sun back on Nov. 28. The club has ripped off nine straight victories over the last two months, including a nice bounce back effort against the Bucs.
After struggling on offense (‘Nova shot just 38% from the field) in the preceding game, the Wildcats rebounded against the Pirates (shooting 46%) and hit 10-of-22 from distance.
This team is as offensively efficient as they come, scoring 119.9 points per 100 possessions. That ranks below only Gonzaga, Iowa and Baylor. Those three teams, along with Villanova, were the preseason Final Four favorites.
Wright’s team also leads the country in lowest turnover percentage (averaging just 8.3 errors per game) and steal percentage. So, the Wildcats handle the rock better than anyone and force turnovers better than anyone.
That will be a tough combination for the Johnnies to overcome Wednesday.
Posh And Spice
Of course, if there’s any team that might trip up these ‘Cats, it’s St. John’s in this spot due to their precocious underclassmen.
Alexander and Addae-Wusu combined for 21 points against the Golden Eagles — with Posh scoring 15. But Alexander’s former Our Savior Lutheran teammate added some spice late in the victory. Along with the team’s leading scorer, sophomore Julian Champagnie (who averages nearly 20 points and seven rebounds per game), Mike Anderson has a strong, young corps. Being young can sometimes be to your advantage — and this could be that type of game.
St. John’s likes to run with their young guys, while ‘Nova likes to slow it down with their experience. Which team assets their tempo will be key.
The Red Storm are seventh overall with 65.4 field goal attempts per game and is 12th in adjusted tempo. ‘Nova, on the other hand, is 329th in adjusted tempo. Another interesting note is each teams’ respective defense. The Johnnies allow a whopping 77.1 points per game, while the Wildcats are allowing a much more manageable 67.2 points per contest. These two contrasting styles will be fascinating to watch.
Villanova is 4-0 against the spread in its last four road games, while St. John’s is 7-3 against the spread in its last 10 games overall.
👀 @jalenbrunson1 pic.twitter.com/UdgzxquuKP
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) February 2, 2021
When it comes to momentum, this game is also a virtual Pick ‘Em considering how hot each group. is. That said, I think Villanova wins this game. Its core group — led by senior guard Collin Gillespie — are simply more battle-tested than St. John’s. But the spread is awfully high. I think the Johnnies will keep it close.
The pick: St. John’s -9 (-110)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.